MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ leading broadcast firm GMA Network Incorporated is set to sign a deal with its former fiercest competitor, ABS-CBN Corporation, on Wednesday afternoon, March 20, on airing the Kapamilya-produced noon show, It’s Showtime, on its flagship free TV Channel 7.

It’s Showtime, the Philippines’ second longest-running noon show, had teased the “good news” on Tuesday, March 19, via a video which shows a heart – the symbol of GMA Kapuso (heart) channel – beside the Kapamilya show’s cartoonized first three letters I, T, and S. 

It’s Showtime’s social media accounts have a similar teaser on Wednesday, this time with the information that the “good news” would happen at 4 pm. 

It’s Showtime stopped airing on Manny V. Pangilinan’s TV5 Channel on July 1, 2023 after showbiz veterans Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon (TVJ) left Jalosjos family-led Television and Production Exponents Incorporated (TAPE) on May 31, 2023 and put up their own show, then called E.A.T. (now E.A.T. Bulaga), on the Kapatid channel.

TAPE continued with the noon show Eat Bulaga! on GMA Channel 7, renaming it to Tahanang Pinakamasaya (Home of the Happiest) last January after losing a trademark battle with TVJ, but decided to axe the show after only nine months following a decline in commercials needed to sustain the show.

It’s official: Bye-bye TAPE’s ‘Tahanang Pinakamasaya’

Jose Bartolome, a former GMA consultant who is now a senior lecturer at the UP College of Mass Communications, said the airing of It’s Showtime on Channel 7 will significantly improve the show’s reach since it will now be seen on the country’s number one free TV channel. Channel 7 has a strong presence on both analog TV and on Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) or digital free TV.

He said GMA’s move indicates that it “doesn’t feel capable they can come up with a show that can compete with It’s Showtime and E.A.T. Bulaga.” Both shows are currently neck-and-neck in the noon show war.

Bartolome said it’s not easy putting up a two- to three-hour variety show from Mondays to Saturdays. One of the difficulties is how to achieve “chemistry” among the show’s hosts. This usually takes time, he said, and described GMA’s decision as “very safe.” GMA could have prolonged and transferred its pre-noon show, TictoClock, to Channel 7 to compete with It’s Showtime and E.A.T. Bulaga.

How it will impact TV5

After ABS-CBN was forced to close its lucrative broadcast business in May 2020, GMA became the undisputed broadcast leader. Since it was left with the most number of TV stations, transmitters, and had also invested heavily on digital TV, GMA now dominates TV viewing in the Philippines.

In its 2022 annual report, GMA said that their channels took four of the top six slots in overall channel Rankings based on Nielsen ratings data. GMA’s full-year 2023 report was not yet available as of writing.

“With our lead channel GMA 7’s 44.2% share ranking 1st, GTV with 11.6% at 2nd and our DTT channels I Heart Movies’ 4.2% share ranking 5th and Heart of Asia with 3% at 6th, our top TV channels delivered a combined NUTAM people audience share of 63%,” GMA said in its report.

However, TV5 has seen an increase in its reach after it began airing ABS-CBN’s popular shows, including It’s Showtime, and prime time teleseryes (TV series) led by FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano and Batang Quiapo. The transfer of TVJ to the Kapatid channel also contributed to TV5’s improved ratings and reach in 2023. 

TV5 has pivoted to being a purely entertainment channel and has dropped all its sports programs so that it can better compete with GMA. TV5 recently partnered with RPN Channel 9 to address its weakness in Cebu and in Mindanao where RPN has a presence.

TV5 has also beefed up its flagship evening news show, Frontline Pilipinas, adding former GMA reporter Jiggy Manicad, Jervy Li (also known as Karen Kaladkaren), sports analyst Mikee Reyes as co-anchors.

TV5’s latest signing is former ABS-CBN News funny man Marc Logan who will also be seen occasionally on Frontline Pilipinas, on top of having a weekly magazine show Top 5 Mga Kuwentong Marc Logan starting April 6.

Why Marc Logan is now a Kapatid

According to official Nielsen annual ratings seen by Rappler, while GMA Channel 7’s audience share stayed almost the same in 2022 and 2023, TV5’s share has gone up by a couple of percentage points. 

Although GMA-7 still has a wide margin of roughly 30 percentage points over TV5, taking in It’s Showtime could help blunt the rise of the Kapatid channel. 

A former ABS-CBN officer who requested anonymity told Rappler It’s Showtime will likely attract more advertisers with its transfer to Channel 7. 

“With It’s Showtime airing on GMA-7, it will get a nationwide audience,” he said. “As an advertiser, you would want the channel with the bigger audience share. GMA with It’s Showtime will be the obvious choice until E.A.T. Bulaga and TV5 gets its distribution nationwide.” 

The noon show time slot, from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, is the second most important time for advertisers next to the prime time evening time slot from 6:30 pm to 10 pm. This is when many households watch television while having lunch. –

New battle shapes up: It’s TV5 + RPN vs GMA